Crolina Mudcats topple Winston-Salem Dash behind 12-run outing
ZEBULON, N.C. – The Carolina Mudcats crushed the Winston-Salem Dash, 12-4, on Wednesday night at Five County Stadium.
The Mudcats took the win behind an offensive explosion that included two home runs and a total of sixteen hits.
A seven-run third inning put the Mudcats ahead early and they never looked back.
Later in the inning, Carolina's LeVon Washington and Todd Hankins both singled to set Gonzalez up nicely for his second at-bat of the inning. The All-Star shortstop capitalized with a double to right that scored both runners to extend the lead to eight runs.
The victory impressed Manager Scooter Tucker and left the former major league catcher in good spirits.
"The guys came out, swung the bats well, scored some runs early, and took the pressure off Morimando," said Tucker. "Overall I was well pleased with the night."
Shawn Morimando (6-2, 3.49 ERA) earned the win for after producing a quality start for the Mudcats. Morimando tossed 6.0 innings and surrendered only one earned run off of four hits while striking out five Dash batters.
While it was a great outing overall, Morimando gave up four walks and seemed to have issues with his command at times.
Tucker was well please and thought Morimando looked strong in his start but knew that some factors were working against the left hander.
"It's one of the very first nights where we have had a lot of humidity so he struggled a little bit with keeping his energy up and a few balls were slipping on him," explained Tucker.
He went on to discuss how the big offensive innings would make it tough for pitchers to stay loose and warm as well.
Winston-Salem starter Jeffrey Wendelken (4-6, 4.03 ERA) struggled to a loss in just 2.2 short innings. The right hander saw eight of the Mudcats' runs score off of 10 hits during his outing. Only two of the runs were earned after an error at the beginning of the third inning set up the majority of the scores.
The Dash bullpen did not fare any better and combined to hurl 5.1 innings in which they allowed an additional six hits and four more runs.
The Mudcats came out swinging in the bottom of the second. Jerrud Sabourin opened the scoring with a two run shot over the wall in right after Jeremy Lucas reached second with a leadoff double to left.
Carolina continued to put runners on base and threatened to score later in the inning. Yhoxian Medina and LeVon Washington both singled with two outs but a weak fly ball from Todd Hankins was caught easily to end the inning.
Wendelken received some run support from the Dash hitters in the top of the third. Mike Marjama singled up the middle and Keenyn Walker battled his way to a walk which gave Winston-Salem their first scoring opportunity. Joey DeMichele took advantage by plating Marjama with a weak fly ball that dropped just in front of center fielder Todd Hankins.
Hankins' throw home beat Marjama but was well off the plate and left catcher Jeremy Lucas with no play.
Morimando found himself in a jam in the top of the fourth but a meeting at the mound with pitching coach Steve Karsay seemed to settle the young south paw. With one out and runners on second and third, he recorded a three pitch strike out of Zach Voight and followed it up by fanning Mike Marjama to prevent Winston-Salem from scoring.
Carolina continued to pound the Dash as they put an additional three runs on the board in the bottom of the fourth. After two quick outs and a Jerrud Sabourin walk, a throwing error from second baseman Joey DeMichele should have ended the inning but allowed James Roberts to reach first instead. The error would prove costly as Yhoxian Medina singled to right to score Sabourin. The runners both advanced on the throw home and were scored on a LeVon Washington single up the middle during the following at-bat.
After four innings of play, the Mudcats held a 12-1 advantage and looked to be on their way to a big win.
Rob Nixon relieved Morimando in the seventh and pitched 2.0 scoreless innings while fanning two batters and surrendering just a single hit.
The Dash attempted to put together a comeback in the top of the ninth. With a runners at first second, a single from Joey DeMichele scored one to start the rally. A walk of Courtney Hawkins loaded the bases and a single from Jason Coats plated two more to make it 12-4 but a ground out on the following at-bat ended the game and the small Winston-Salem rally.
Grant Sides failed to earn the save after giving up three earned runs off three hits and two walks in the ninth.
Tucker acknowledged the difficulty of staying focused during a blowout.
"Sometimes it is hard to pick up that intensity level and we see it too often," said Tucker. "But I'm not worried about it all."
The win improves Carolina to 25-32 while the Dash fall to 24-33.
Daniel is a communication and broadcast media major at North Carolina State University.